Tiger Woods slipped on his fifth green jacket on Sunday in what might be his most improbable victory of his career. Woods would hold off a host of contenders to grab his first victory at Augusta since 2005. It was Woods’ first major victory when he didn’t have the lead after 54 holes.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 15, 2019
Woods’ career was left for dead. After a series on personal mishaps followed by his arrest after taking to prescription drugs to his nagging injuries, there was no reason to think different. The greatness of Woods was done. He would never win another major. His career was finished.
I was one of the people saying it and my plate of crow was waiting for me. The band, The Hours might’ve summed up yesterday the best in their song “Ali in the Jungle. It truly could be “the greatest comeback since Lazurus”.
Hindsight is always 20-20. When Woods won the Tour Championship, it was against a limited field. When he had opportunities to win majors, the best closer in PGA Tour history couldn’t close. Francesco Molinari walked him down to win The Open. Brooks Koepka never blinked when Woods’ name popped up on the leaderboard at the PGA Championship. The popular refrain was, “Tiger doesn’t intimidate anyone anymore”.
Woods didn’t win yesterday because he intimidated his opponents. He won yesterday because he play spectacular golf. Woods was first in Greens in Regulation and second in Birdies or better. Add those with the fact that he was T10th in Bogeys or worse and you had a winning formula.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 15, 2019
Just a few years ago, everyone and their mom was scolding Tiger about his personal life. Sponsors made “business decisions” and dropped him. He was the punch line of every late night jokes where it was talking about his wife damaging his truck with a golf club or his love of Perkins waitresses. The jokes had no bounds. He had the likes of former caddie Steve Williams and senior golfer Greg Norman trashing him at every opportunity. It was open season on Tiger but personally and professionally.
Yesterday seemed to turn the page. Sure, you could see the tide changing for a while. You could see more and more fans both hardcore and casual pull for Tiger more and more. By the time Woods putted out on 18, there were people literally tearing up with feelings of joy. The chants of “Tiger” were ringing out from the huge galleries.
Appreciating what Woods went through as a golfer and a human being. There were many admitting that they were tearing up as he hugged his son and then his Mother at the same place he hugged his Dad in 97. There were golfers like Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson, Rick Fowler and a host of others that waited around to congratulate him.
After Tiger Woods won his first Masters in 1997, he embraced his father, Earl.
22 years later after winning his 5th Masters, he got to share that same moment with his own son, Charlie. pic.twitter.com/BqH1AyvM6A
— ESPN (@espn) April 15, 2019
I was a golf fan long before Tiger was on Tour and will be one after he’s gone. Does the Tour need Tiger? No. Is the Tour better with him being here? Absolutely. The Masters always dominate the news but even the most prestigious major gets a boost from Tiger. Just look at the Sunday ratings. The early start hurt the live ratings but when it’s combined with the replay during it’s scheduled time, it tied for the highest share since 2011.
There’s an overused saying that “not even Hollywood could’ve written this script” but those who think that are wrong. You see, Hollywood could write the script… we just wouldn’t have believed it.
Follow Marcus “Mook” Washington on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook